The International 2021 is right around the corner but it’s suddenly unclear where it will take place.
Despite having years to prepare for the event, it seems as though TI10 is likely not taking place in Stockholm, Sweden. A series of bureaucratic issues are making visas impossible to obtain for a number of competitors, with Valve placing the blame on Stockholm travel authorities. A statement was released on the official Dota 2 website.
An Important Update on TI10: The International – Dota 2 Championships in Swedenhttps://t.co/lTg7JfWreZ
— DOTA 2 (@DOTA2) June 21, 2021
“Over the course of the past year, Stockholm Live and Visit Stockholm continued to reassure us in our regular and constant communications with them that The International…qualified for the same exemptions other elite sporting events there received. However, despite previous reassurances, we were informed two weeks ago that the Swedish Sports Federation had just voted not to accept esports into the sports federation,” Valve said in a statement.
Valve noted that it then reached out to the Swedish Minister of the Interior to have TI10 classified as an elite sporting event, but was declined. Though the door isn’t completely closed on The International taking place in Sweden, things seem to be trending in a very bad direction for the event. Valve noted it is looking for a way to get things sorted in Sweden but is also investigating other possible locations to host The International in Europe.
“In light of the current political situation in Sweden, we have started looking for possible alternatives elsewhere in Europe to host the event this year…We feel confident that in either instance we will have a solution that allows us to hold TI10 in Europe this year, and that we will be able to announce an updated plan in the very near future,” Valve said.
This worked last time…
— WePlay Esports (@WePlay_Esports) June 21, 2021
Despite TI10 potentially being forced out of Sweden, the qualifiers for TI10 will take place as scheduled. Valve also noted that a new Summer event is also set to arrive later this week.
As a result of this news, It is unknown when and where The International 2021 will take place. It is possible that it could still take place in Stockholm, but that seems unlikely at this point.
In comparison to any other major sporting event, TI10 being left in limbo just six weeks ahead of its set start date is inconceivable. Events like WWE Wrestlemania and the Super Bowl have planned dates and locations more than a year in advance, with dates and locations set through 2023 as of this writing. Even within esports, events like the League of Legends World Championships and Overwatch League Grand Finals are sorted well ahead of when they begin.
The fact that the rug is being pulled out from under Dota 2 pros, many of which are currently on extended stays in Europe to reduce travel between the WePlay AniMajor and TI10, is baffling. Even moreso is that Valve didn’t indicate that it had anything to do with safety issues, it was just the matter of the company relying on outside institutions to put its event together.
Incredibly disappointing to see that Sweden is not doing what it needs to do to host the biggest esports event in the world.
The government obviously can’t grasp what they are losing out on here. Now you know why our government literally lost the vote of confidence today! https://t.co/Vilu5Y5u9S
— Jonathan ”Loda” Berg (@LodaBerg) June 21, 2021
Though Dota 2 fans have long witnessed Valve fumbling the esports scenes within its games, this is by far one of the biggest mistakes the company has pulled. While some are blaming Sweden, there have been an abundance of prominent esports events to happen in Sweden without issue. Other major esports championships have become globe-trotting events and none of them have encountered these sorts of issues so soon before the event’s start.
TI10 is likely not canceled, but is in a very precarious position at this time. Despite this, Valve should be able to find a location to host the event.
Throughout 2020, cities around the world were able to hammer out deals with sporting bodies to host events. It’s possible that Valve will have to move TI10 to a less glamorous location than Stockholm, or that it will end up looking outside of Europe. Regardless, TI10 will very likely still happen in 2021.